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Anorexia experts answer questions (if you ask them) in online chat

October 26, 2010|By Mary Forgione, For the Los Angeles Times
  • Eating disorder experts will hold an online chat from 9 to 10 a.m. PDT Wednesday.
Eating disorder experts will hold an online chat from 9 to 10 a.m. PDT Wednesday. (Illustration by Christopher…)

Anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating are the most well-known eating disorders, but "pregorexia,"  "drunkorexia" and even plain old picky eaters are getting plenty of media attention these days.

Why these disorders persist isn't easy to pin down. Extreme thinness as a cultural ideal, poor self esteem and stressful events or changes in life are thought to be some of the reasons.

The Health Notes blog of the Newport News Daily Press will convene an online chat that's open to all from 9 to 10 a.m. PDT Wednesday to answer questions about eating disorders.

The panel includes Kathleen MacDonald, education and prevention coordinator of the FREED Foundation, which works to eradicate eating disorders; Marya Hornbacher, author of “Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia"; and Emily McMillen, a William & Mary college student and president of Student CARES Team, which works to promote a healthy lifestyle and body image on campus.

Here are some general "red flags" from the Mayo Clinic staff that may signal a problem:

• Skipping meals
• Making excuses for not eating
• Eating only a few certain "safe" foods, usually those low in fat and calories
• Adopting rigid meal or eating rituals, such as cutting food into tiny pieces or spitting food out after chewing
• Cooking elaborate meals for others, but refusing to eat them themselves • Withdrawing from normal social activities
• Persistent worry or complaining about being fat
• A distorted body image, such as complaining about being fat despite being underweight
• Not wanting to eat in public
• Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
• Wearing baggy or layered clothing
• Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweet or high-fat foods • Use of dietary supplements or herbal products for weight loss

Click here to read the full eating disorders guide.

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